Is Your Junior Athlete Ready?

We’re excited to have this guest blog post by our resident youth strength and conditioning coach Jeff Turner.

Coach Jeff is the real deal, with over three decades in the trenches training elite level athletes in both soccer and lacrosse, as well as over a dozen other sports. His specialty, and why he’s a perfect youth coach for HFF, is developing the foundational aspects of athleticism, which lead to increased performance and durability (keeping juniors injury free).

He also takes a personalized approach and progresses each junior athlete at the ideal pace for him or her.

If you’ve got a junior athlete in your family, this post is for YOU.

Enter Jeff:

“Physical Readiness” is a term used by elite strength and conditioning coaches around the world. In plain English, it means that the athlete is prepared to meet the demands of their sport, both in practice and in games.

One of the biggest problems I see in youth sports is the assumption of physical readiness. Everyone assumes kids are able to perform activities like conditioning sessions, sport specific drills, strength training, and even the sport itself.

We’ve all seen the kid that looks like he’s running in slow motion ­­- he’s giving it all he has, but no matter how much effort he gives, he’s still struggling. You know something is off, but you can’t put your finger on it.

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Tips For Coaching Your Kids In Sports & Life

We are consistently honored that so many of our members allow us the opportunity to work with their kids.  Although juniors make up only  about 10% of our total membership, it’s a group that we thoroughly enjoy and find immensely rewarding.

I (Stephen) often have up to 10 junior golfers at any given time, while both Michelle and James usually have 1-2 young ones on their regular schedules.

Disclaimer: None of us have any children of our own.  And I won’t insult anyone by insinuating that the menagerie of felines that Michelle and I rent from are in any way equivalent.

So you might be wondering how we would have any worthwhile insight or tips for you in coaching YOUR kids.

That’s a legit question.  Here are two potential answers:

1)  Personally, being about the same age as most of the parents, but in a different role, allows me the opportunity to take on a coach (but non-parental) perspective.  Once rapport is developed, many juniors will open up to us in ways they’re hesitant to do with their parents, no matter how solid that relationship may be.

Then there is the issue of “proximity bias”.  Most any of us can say, literally, the exact same thing to a junior as their mother/father would, and get a distinctively better response.  This can then allow space for a different type of dialogue about health/fitness/lifestyle, and all of the secondary benefits that are derived from that foundation: confidence, self-reliance, self-esteem, awareness and control of their physical bodies, etc.

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The Four Sports That Every Kid Should Play

Todays blog post is from Brian Grasso,  the director of the International Youth Conditioning Association.  He does an excellent job of describing the key qualities that will enable your child to both enjoy and perform better at any sport (including the sport of life), as they grow.  As a parent or coach, I highly recommend you check out all of the resources his organization provides.

Enter Brian:

One of the questions that I get asked most routinely is which sports I believe offer the best development capacity to young athletes.

This is a loaded question for several reasons…

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